The vampire devices could be sucking energy in your home right now!
Sounds pretty dark, like the plot of the next Dracula movie, it is also know by a few other sinister names such as ghost load and phantom power, but what is it? It is basically the power loss from the charging of a device when it is not plugged in, do you leave your phone charger plugged in when your phone isn’t on charge? I thought so and that is what vampire power loss is, I have to admit so did I until I recently found what the term meant. I live a pretty mobile life always plugging in my iPod, smartphone and laptop to charge but leaving the charger switched on even when nothing is charging. It is also the power that device waste when being left on standby, remember how everyone always says switch off your TV and don’t leave it on standby? Well they are trying to protect you from the menace of vampire power loss.
Is it a big deal?
In the U.S. 25% of electricity use by home electronics actually is actually consumed when the power is switched off (Pouge), some device can actually use more power over their lifetime when switched off doing nothing than when they are in use. OK so this is just not burning a hole in our wallets it is also effecting the environment. Yes each individual device is only using a very small amount of electricity when switched off, but then think about all those device in your home, then all of the homes in your street, all the streets in your neighbourhood, all the neighbourhoods in your town and so on. Some estimates suggest that vampire power loss could account for 10% of home energy use, now think about what your annual energy bill is and reducing it by 10% sounds mighty tempting.
So what can I do about it?
So I hear you ask what can I do to fight the vampire energy sucking devices costing me money? Well luckily for you world governments have stepped in to restrict the amount of energy use for a standby device from 10s of watts in the mid 20th centaury to one watt, this will be reduced to half that by 2013. I still don’t think this is good enough as the devices are still using electricity when they shouldn’t need to. A team at London’s City University has recently found a way of cutting device use to zero while still operating like it is in standby, they have applied for patents and it may be some time before we see their technology in all devices. In the mean time you can simply turn off your devices at the socket yes no doubt you have heard this advice before are rolling your eyes while reading this, but it is really as simple as that. I found that it is just an issue of setting it in to your routine, even I found it difficult to get used to, I even had to stick little post it notes next to some of my devices saying “turn me off!” Once I had the routine of switching devices off at the socket it became second nature and I was doing it without thinking about it.
Yes I know it may be a pain, and you have heard this advice before but just try incorporating it in to your life and it is an easy way to save energy and fight the vampires.